Wednesday, September 21, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Growing up, my Dad told of a town character who would dramatically exit her car after crossing the line from Callaway to Boone, kiss the ground and exclaim proudly "Boone County, Boone County!" I've often wondered if she said it the way Dad imitated it. Probably not, but in my 30 years on the road I still mimic her--or my Dad--after a long drive even if I do not leave the car. In the words of the great mystic Rumi: "there are hundreds of ways to kiss the ground."
"My people" have been here for five generations before me and I see more to come ahead of me. Boone County, Mo., gives me a solid place to stand in this world.

1 comment:

  1. As a child of two professors, I often spent weeks traveling far from my mid-MO home each summer. You describe perfectly that relief and elation I felt as the terrain grew recognizable through our car windows after a long trip. After 27 years living away from Boone County, I still get a thrill when I drive into Columbia and smell the distinctive air, so foreign yet familiar, and see the landmarks of my childhood on the horizon. However, I am now, undisputedly, no longer at home there, and crave the comforts of "home" in California. It does not diminish my identity as a born and bred Missourian; in fact, I believe my pride in my heritage and perhaps romanticized memories of my youth stem from the benefit of an adulthood spent in contrast. Sometimes, I believe, you can only truly go Home Again when you've had the chance to go away.